A Whitman's Sampler of iffy Valentines' Day gift-tunes


I'm not much on romance, so for me Valentine's Day isn't a huge undertaking: a gift or two, some flowers, a card, done. I don't go in for the mushy mixtapes or complicated surprises or getaway weekends, in part because I'm always broke. But I'm more than happy to offer unsolicited suggestions on what you should buy your steady sweetie for Valentine's Day, because I'm all about altruism and when I'm gone I'd like to be remembered fondly as a conscientious caretaker of the musical polity.

Remember: iTunes singles are cheap! And so are you, so take my advice already: laughter is the best medicine for pretty much everything, and if you can make your lover laugh hard enough, she/he will overlook how tight you are.

[jump] The Buzzcocks, "Love Is Lies"

A National Anthem of sorts for the perpetually jilted/spurned.

Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie, "Endless Love"

You know, I totally attended a wedding where this was the bride and groom's song. This must have been when I was nine or ten; I drank a bunch of milkshakes because I could and refused to dance with my god sister. The marriage flat-lined a few years later - dude's one of my god brothers and I've lost track of how many times he's been up to the altar - but this song's air of mothball-musty, slavish fidelity remains capable of making me throw up curdled vanilla milkshake in my mouth.

Calvin Johnson & Mirah, "Ode To Saint Valentine"

This longtime holiday-specific favorite is a lot less creepy when you're not actually witnessing it in live performance. I interviewed Johnson once, back in 2002 for the long-defunct Chicago zine Tail Spins, and I can assure you that dude's voice isn't that deep in regular conversation.

MC Paul Barman, "The Joy Of Your World"

Years before Lil Wayne was polarizing prime-time audiences with "Pussy Monster," MFA/aspie-esque type MC Paul Barman was grossing out audiences with free-associative gynecological fits like this one. Barman's career has been effectively DOA for a good long while, but "Joy" is still spectacular in a "haul this freakaziod away in an unmarked white panel van" kind of way.

Milli Vanilli, "Girl You Know It's True"

Because nothing says "my love for you is totally genuine, truer than true, realer than a crisp new non-counterfeit $500 bill" like giving that special someone the gift of wholescale artistic fraud.

Melissa Etheridge, "I Wanna Come Over"

So yeah, admittedly, "I Wanna Come Over," might fall more under the rubric of "Valentine's Day-ruining spectacle/restraining-order precursor" than that of "Spanish Fly-esque pre-coital Valentine's Day treat."

Arab Strap, "New Birds"

If you're giving this song - or any Arab Strap song, for that matter, but especially this one - to the purported object of your affection/lust as a gift, chances are that you've latched onto a new, improved chew-toy and have already hustled all of your breakable stuff into storage in an undisclosed location.

Jason Crumer, "Betrayal After Betrayal"

If your betrothed can roll with this cacophony, by all blessed means: hold on him/her for dear life.